Portrait Photography for Beginners

This one-day portrait photography course will jump start your technique for photographing people with natural light.


Viewfinder Center


6.5 hours

Group Size

4 - 9 people

Skill level


There are no courses planned at the moment but please get in touch with us to check.


  • Avoiding common composition problems. 
  • Overcoming strong backlight & harsh sun.
  • Positioning subjects for interesting poses.
  • Coaching the best look out of your subject. 
  • Choosing the right lens for your shoot.
  • Subject isolation and aperture choices.
  • Spot metering for brighter, clearer images.


The Portrait Photography Course for Beginners is open to anyone.


We recommend a digital SLR camera or a mirrorless camera. Lenses for portrait photography are ideally longer than 50mm in focal length. An 85mm or 100mm lens is perfect, but a 50mm lens on a cropped-format camera body will also work well. At Viewfinder we have several 50mm lenses for Nikon and Canon cameras which you are welcome to use during the course.


Viewfinder Center (Photo Studio), Dachslerenstrasse 10, 8702 Zollikon.



Matt Anderson is Viewfinder's lead photography instructor and is responsible for course development and for teaching a number of Viewfinder’s photography courses and workshops. Matt’s photography career began in the USA where he worked at three different daily newspapers and freelanced regularly for the Associated Press in Seattle — where he grew up. These days he regularly shoots for the Zurich-based Keystone agency and works with corporate and private clients in the Zurich area. Matt’s three passions are: exploring new places (near and far), creating impactful photographs, and helping other photographers become more creative and effective in their craft. Matt feels privileged to work in a business that combines his passions and brings him in contact with so many interesting people from all over the world.

Student Testimonials

I have attended several of Viewfinder Center's courses over the years and found them excellent. Matt & Dagmar plan them well and they have always met my expectations.
Raju V.
Great course and a fun creative exchange. From my experience, I can only recommend others to visit Viewfinder and experience it themselves.
Nadia E.

Course Information

Our Portrait Photography for Beginners course starts with morning classroom session in which students identify and solve classic beginners mistakes in portrait photography. Without introducing any complicated equipment, we practice solutions that are purely related to picture composition. On the technical side, we practice using our camera's spot meter before heading to the nearby park for several hands-on "partner-shooting" assignments. This course is the perfect warm up for our Studio Portrait Photography course.

Included in the price

  • Small group learning.
  • Personal support from instructor.
  • Handouts documenting the relevant camera settings and creative tips and ideas.
  • Coffee/tea and water provided.
  • In-class exercises and instructor feedback.

Not included in the price

  • Lunch is not provided. There are restaurant options near by.